Pundit Wire

Author Archives: Hal Gordon

Trumpery

Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_3_(cropped)The American Heritage Dictionary defines “trumpery” as follows:
1. Showy but worthless finery; bric-a-brac.
2. Nonsense; rubbish.
3. Deception; trickery; fraud.

In all, not a bad word to describe Donald Trump’s campaign for president.

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“Have you no decency, sir?

Donald_Trump_March_2015So Donald Trump says that Sen. John McCain, who was a POW for over five years during the Vietnam War, who was tortured horribly during his confinement and who refused an offer of early release is “not a war hero.”

I am reminded of what a lawyer named Joseph Welch said over 60 years ago to another blustering bombastic bully who, to the shame of the GOP, was also a Republican: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

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Pirates!!!!!

unnamed-2Houston’s beloved Gilbert and Sullivan Society is giving six performances of The Pirates of Penzance this month.

Houstonians will once again have the chance to tap their toes to Sullivan’s rollicking tunes and to chuckle over Gilbert’s satirical gags, which can still hit the mark even after 136 years.

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Don’t Romanticize the Confederacy

tumblr_msod517M9z1s0hipbo1_1280Furl that Banner, for ’tis weary;

Round its staff ’tis drooping dreary;

Furl it, fold it, it is best;

For there’s not a man to wave it…
Photo by: Richard Norris Brooke

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How Lafayette Routed Napoleon—With a Speech

Gilbert_du_Motier_Marquis_de_Lafayette_-_high_resThe history books tell us that Napoleon was decisively defeated at the Battle of Waterloo two hundred years ago on June 18, 1815. Four days later, on June 22, he abdicated and was exiled by the British to the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic where he died in 1821.

This compressed version of events leaves out a wealth of fascinating details. It particular, it doesn’t tell us how Napoleon schemed to hold power even after Waterloo, and how the immediate cause of his abdication was not the bayonets of Wellington and Blücher, but a courageous speech by the Marquis de Lafayette.

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“A Monument to Intellectual Integrity”

LittlemoreWhen I was in England in April, I lunched with some old friends at Oxford. Then I turned my back on the majestic towers and spires of the great university and took a bus to the obscure village of Littlemore some three miles away. My destination was a row of shabby, single-story cottages that had served as a coaching station in Victorian times.

And yet, as the English writer A.N. Wilson has observed, that row of shabby cottages is, “much more than the grand colleges of Oxford, a monument to intellectual integrity.” Because it was here, in 1845, that John Henry Newman was received into the Roman Catholic Church.

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“A Dealer In Hope”

speakerNapoleon once said that a leader is “a dealer in hope.” If putting heart into people is the touchstone of leadership, then General Colin Powell is one of the outstanding leaders of our time.

I had the chance to observe the General at close range during the three years that I worked for him as his speechwriter. (See the picture of me with the General on the home page of my web side, www.ringingwords.com. I no longer have the beard but I’m still recognizable.)

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U.K. – United or Federated Kingdom?

6997132774_8fa975c208_oThe big story to emerge from Britain’s recent elections is the remarkable showing by the Scottish National Party or SNP.

The SNP went from 6 seats to 56 seats out of a total of 59 Scottish seats in the U.K. parliament. The upset, which came at the expense of Britain’s Labour Party, makes the SNP the third-largest party in parliament. The SNP is a regional party; it is a party pledged to make Scotland an independent country; and it is a party that is ideologically further to the left than the Labour Party.

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